Côte Bistro provides diners with a selection of authentic, French dishes within an environment similar to the many famous bistros of Paris.
The firm has continued to expand its ever-growing portfolio opening new branches in Liverpool, Newbury, Cobham and Chislehurst.
Premier Hospitality Magazine caught up with Robert Angell, of Robert Angell Design International, to find out how he became involved with Côte restaurants. Robert commented:
“We got involved with Côte after my name was put forward following the previous design practice moving on from Côte. I have known Martin, the previous designer, for years and he knew I was an experienced pair of hands when it came to delivering and developing a brand roll out.
“I had previous experience with Pret, Eat and with the original Dome and Café Rouge chain and so knew the challenges and speed at which these sites move. We have delivered a site a month over the last two years we have been working with Côte Restaurants.”
Robert Angell and his team go through various discussions and prepare at least two to three feasibility layouts for the clients for each of the branches. The design team is always keen to ensure the brand works and all aspect of the design functions operationally. Robert assesses how many covers can fit into any site Côte choose, as well as ensuring the team can overcome the challenges that listed buildings bring with them.
“We love working with new conversions and existing restaurants which all add to the Côte estate.”
The Liverpool, Newbury, Cobham and Chislehurst branches each took around eight to ten weeks on site to complete. On every project the on site team deal with a number of challenges; including dealing with challenging site conditions, adding an extension and remodeling the buildings interiors. Each of these issues affects the length and difficulty of the project.
Robert told us about the specific sites his team has worked on; commenting:
“We conducted a strip out on each of the four sites; in the case of Liverpool the strip out was fairly light as it was a new fitted out shell. The Newbury branch comprised two units which we knocked into one as well as undertook structural works on the listed building.”
The four site layouts were all almost totally different to the design plans laid out by Côte. The brand is very specific in terms of their spatial arrangement and requirements of what they want. Generally the Côte branches comprise a café area to the front of the venue, a dispense bar, an array of different tables and seating arrangements, as well as a tiled floor.
The restaurant seating is usually towards the back of the venue or opposite the bar depending on the sites, as well as feature displays which are defined by different lighting and wall finishes.
The onsite workers and design teams do encounter challenges during the opening of new branches and renovation of existing ones, as Robert explained:
“There are always challenges with these sites as we have to create the brand in different size sites without losing the essence of the brand. Planning applications are not always straight forward, but we have a good portfolio of different shop fronts in different buildings to allow the planners to get a real good feel of what we are going to achieve.
“Another challenge is always time and we have a realistic client and team who all work together to deliver the restaurants in the quickest time, and more often than not we have three sites at different stages at any one time.”
Working with such a high profile client means a lot to Robert Angell and his team:
“Our involvement with Côte is valuable to us, not only from an income stream for us but it’s great to be a part of a very successful formula and we are very proud to work with Côte and it shows what we are capable of delivering, which is consistently high standards in design in relatively short timeframes. It allows us to grow and develop the Côte Restaurant collection with them.
“Côte’s development programme is continuing and we are looking at new sites with them. We have a great working relationship with Côte and a great track record of delivering the sites on time and budget, so we will continue to work with Côte for the foreseeable future.”